For some reason I’ve been thinking about D’Anna again (partially I’m sure due to the recent release of The Golden Compass, the source material of which features an explicit parallel to Eve). And I think I’m able to better detail just what the difference between the three (original Eve, Battlestar’s D’Anna, and His Dark Materials’ Lyra) is, and why I prefer D’Anna’s story. I’m not going to make a lot of sense here but I’ll give it a shot.
Eve in the Bible is a story of innocence to corruption; the eating of the forbidden fruit is the Original Sin, the taint of which condemns all humanity to damnation (until Christ’s sacrifice). Innocence is conflated with ignorance, and goodness means not knowing evil–not having the choice of evil, really, and being good by default. A Brave New World-esque utopia, where everyone is happy because there is no other way. But perhaps what’s more important with Eve is that this is a one-way street, starting out as innocence and becoming progressively more corrupt, with no way to reverse the descent. We start out at the top and fall down, rather than start at the bottom and work our way up. Purity is the word here, and exclusion: evil is anything outside the first nature, anything other than God’s original creation. Evil is what you can’t do.
Lyra maintains the same essential elements but twists there meaning; once again we have a story of innocence to corruption, but here the corruption is good, and evil is the ignorance of innocence. Choice is good; being without choice, evil. What’s interesting with Lyra is that she still doesn’t know what she’s doing (in fact a part of the “prophecy” is that she must fulfill her role without knowing that she has a role), and in essence is as blind an actor as Eve. Lyra allows for choice, and that’s good, but she still doesn’t have much choice in that action herself–she is a device of prophecy, after all, just like Eve, unable to act any other way, unaware of any other possibilities and so just as choiceless.
D’Anna, finally, is a complete reversal of Eve’s story, as opposed to Lyra’s half-reversal. D’Anna’s is a story of corruption to totality. D’Anna begins as a murderer and a torturer and a genocidal religious fanatic (albeit one desperate to know true love). She acts not because of fate or God or Satan or anything but herself; she decides to go after the Final Five, the forbidden fruit (even though she personally thinks it to be “her destiny”). D’Anna chooses to be able to choose. Unlike Eve or Lyra, she knows what she is doing, every step of the way. And in the end her story is not about purity or descent or exclusion but about the exact opposites. D’Anna ascends from Cylon to god; goodness is not original nature or even corruption but the inclusion of everything, the unreduced totality of the universe.
This is the essential difference, the most important thing in the whole goddamn world, whether our principle of good is exclusion or inclusion. Traditional goodness is exclusion, is the ignorance of innocence, is untainted white, is the untouched Garden of Eden, the original nature. It is the singular, unfiltered, unchanged individual soul, impervious to the damaging influence of the physical world. It is the I or the We against the Other and the Outside. It is cold and brittle and static and numb. But real goodness is inclusion, the knowledge of experience, the white of all colors, the totality of the universe, the constantly evolving, shifting, interacting system that is humanity, and recognition of our place in it. It is the collective, fractured, fractal, kaleidoscopic scatter-shot of colors, always changing, mutating, moving. It is the All, without an opposition. It is warm and soft and dynamic and feeling, it is the whole, the totality, the entirety, the experience of everything.
This is incoherent, I realize, but it’s so goddamned important. It is the most important thing I know. And I have to say it as many ways as I can because I don’t know which ones will work and which ones won’t. None of them will, really–communication is asymptotic. People can’t be forced into anything; they must always learn for themselves, but with the help of others, the suggestion and influence. The interaction between you and I, they and we, that is the key, the ultimate–not one acting for another, but both acting together, a dance constantly evolving, in which no one knows the ending, or even the next step. That is life. Anything that acts against that–any attempt to act for another, or to remove an actor from the influence of the rest of the system–is doomed and worse immoral, wrong, evil, bad. Please hear what I am saying. I doing my best and I don’t know how to say it but it must be said, it must be realized.